Young back in mix at second, third base
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Saturday morning was kind of like old times for Eric Young Jr. There he was, taking groundballs at second base with his dad -- former Rockies second baseman Eric Young Sr. -- observing intently. At the end, the advice from his dad boiled down to get the fundamentals ingrained, then use your athletic ability.
The return to infield play, after playing seven Major League games at second in 2011 and none last year, is a way for Young to have more opportunities to use that athletic ability. Former Rockies manager Jim Tracy made Young exclusively an outfielder, but new manager Walt Weiss -- realizing the outfield is crowded and Young is out of Minor League options -- wants to expand his role.
Young, who turns 28 on May 25, hit .316 in 98 games last season, with most of his action coming when Michael Cuddyer was out with an oblique strain. Young, whose own season ended with an oblique strain, is happy for new ways to make it onto the field.
"You never know what the situation is going to bring that particular day, plus you might want to switch up the lineup," Young said. "I'm able to bring different options."
Young provides an option if regular leadoff man Dexter Fowler is not available. The increased versatility -- Young could play some third base, as well -- could open some possibilities for Young should the Rockies or another club suddenly need a leadoff man.
"I always think I could be a leadoff hitter anywhere, but being able to play a lot of positions will give our team more options, or give other teams more options," Young said. "I've always said it's a business. You never know what's said behind closed doors. You prepare yourself for any position. You never know who's going to like you where."
It looks as if the Rockies like Young a little bit in a lot of places.